It is with a heavy heart that I write this update. Today we had to say “good bye” to our sweet boy, Dino. Dino was about five years old and came to us in March of 2004. In September of last year he was diagnosed with cancer in one of his back legs. After much thought and discussion with our vet, we elected not to amputate his leg. Because of his stout build-we lovingly referred to him as the “ottoman”-we didn’t think he would be able to get up or down without the use of all four legs. Dino did really well until May when it was clear that he was becoming uncomfortable. We knew we were getting close to having to let him go, but Dino wasn’t ready to give up yet. In May we had the leg amputated, and Dino responded by getting up the next morning after this extensive surgery and pulling on a leash to go outside. He did so well until a couple of weeks ago when he lost his appetite and became very “tired”. We had xrays, bloodwork, and a sonogram done. It was determined that the cancer had spread, and there was no more we could do but keep Dino comfortable until it became clear to us that it was his “time”, and that time was today.

Dino came to us after his guardians left him with neighbors while they went on vacation. After about a year it became clear that they weren’t coming back for him, and the neighbors called us to take him. It is a decision that we will never regret. For the last two and a half years this rescue was home to Dino. He had a “corner condo” that he was fiercely protective of. Dino loved to tear apart stuffed animals, and his kennel was always full of fluff. He was a comedian and provided us with lots of smiles and laughs. Dino had such a grateful spirit-always accepting the hand life dealt him and making the most of it. Although Dino was never chosen by a family to go to a “forever home”, we were so fortunate to have been his guardians for the balance of his life. The decision today was very difficult, but also very necessary so that Dino would not suffer. No matter how much we gave him, he always gave us more back with no hesitation and unconditional love. His memory lives on in our hearts. His spirit lives on to remind us of why we continue to help the less fortunate of this breed.

Many of you know the story of the Rainbow Bridge, but there is a second part to that story, and it helps us to get through this day. Someday we will be allowed to help Dino one final time.

And so, dear Dino, you fought a brave fight, but in the end this horrible disease was more than your body could handle. You will always be our “big sweet boy”, and you may be gone but will never be forgotten by those lucky enough to have met you. We love you and miss you.

Rich and Anna

The Rainbow Bridge...The Rest of the Story

Unlike most days at the Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray.

All the recent arrivals at the Bridge did not know what to think, as they had never seen such a day. But the animals who had been waiting longer for their beloved people to accompany them across the Bridge knew what was happening, and they began to gather at the pathway leading to the Bridge.

Soon an elderly dog came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. He approached slowly, and though he showed no sign of injury or illness, he was in great emotional pain. Unlike the animals gathered along the pathway, he had not been restored to youth and vigor upon arriving at the Bridge. He felt out of place, and wanted only to cross over and find happiness.

But as he approached the Bridge, his way was barred by an angel, who apologized and explained that the tired and broken-spirited old dog could not cross over. Only those animals accompanied by their people were allowed to cross the Bridge. Having nobody, and with nowhere else to turn, the dog trudged into the field in front of the Bridge.

There he found others like himself, elderly or infirm, sad and discouraged. Unlike the other animals waiting to cross the Bridge, these animals were not running or playing. They simply were lying in the grass, staring forlornly at the pathway across the Rainbow Bridge. The old dog took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting, yet not knowing what he was actually waiting for.  One of the newer dogs at the Bridge asked a cat who had been there longer to explain what was happening. The cat replied, "Those poor animals were abandoned, turned away, or left at rescue places, but never found a home on earth.  They all passed on with only the love of a rescuer to comfort them.  Because they had no people to love them, they have nobody to escort them across the Rainbow Bridge."

The dog asked the cat, "So what will happen to those animals?"

Before the cat could answer, the clouds began to part and the cold turned to bright sunshine. The cat replied, "Watch, and you will see."

In the distance was a single person, and as she approached the Bridge the old, infirm and sad animals in the field were bathed in a golden light. They were all at once made young and healthy, and stood to see what their fate would be. The animals who had previously gathered at the pathway bowed their heads as the person approached.

At each bowed head, the person offered a scratch or hug. One by one, the now youthful and healthy animals from the field fell into line behind the person. Together, they walked across the Rainbow Bridge to a future of happiness and unquestioned love. The dog asked the cat, "What just happened?"

The cat responded, "That was a rescuer."